Red Sox infield prospect Matthew Lugo closed out his 2021 season with Low-A Salem on a high note

One of the youngest players the Red Sox selected in the 2019 amateur draft was second-round pick Matthew Lugo.

Lugo, then just 18 years old, was fresh out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico and ultimately forwent his commitment to the University of Miami to sign with the Sox for an over-slot deal of $1.1 million that June.

After beginning his professional career in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and closing out the year with the short-season Lowell Spinners, Lugo — like many minor-leaguers had his 2020 season taken away from him due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Lugo had the chance to participate in some organized baseball activities during the Sox’ fall instructional league in Fort Myers, the young infielder came into the 2021 campaign having not seen any real in-game action in nearly two years.

Now 20 years old, Lugo broke minor-league camp with Low-A Salem last spring and spent the entirety of the year there. In 105 games for Salem, the right-handed hitter batted .270/.338/.364 (95 wRC+) to go along with 21 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 50 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 94 strikeouts over 469 trips to the plate.

On the surface, those numbers may not look all that inspiring, but Lugo was among the youngest hitters to play in the Low-A East last year. Interestingly enough, the Manati native fared far better against right-handed pitchers (.294/.367/.402 slash line against in 387 plate appearances) than left-handers (.160/.198/.187 slash line in 82 plate appearances).

In spite of those reverse splits, Lugo saved his best for last in terms of offensive production by batting a scorching .349/.432/.587 (171 wRC+) with five doubles, two triples, two homers, 13 RBIs, 18 runs scored, one stolen base, eight walks, and 16 strikeouts over 17 games (74 plate appearances) in the month of September.

Defensively, Lugo saw time at both second base and shortstop with the Salem Sox in 2021. The 6-foot-1, 187 pounder logged 53 innings at second base and 797 1/3 innings at shortstop, committing a total of 35 errors while turning 44 double plays.

Going into the off-season, Lugo was assigned to Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League back in November. He had previously played for his hometown Atenienses de Manati during the 2019-2020 off-season but has yet to appear in a game for Caguas.

Lugo, who turns 21 in May, is the nephew of former All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran — a close friend of Red Sox manager Alex Cora. He ended the 2021 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 18 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Lugo “is described as strikingly mature in his routines and work, including strength work that led one evaluator to describe him as, pound for pound, the strongest prospect in the system. While many expected him to move to second base in pro ball, he has made significant strides at shortstop and many with the Red Sox now believe he can stick at the position.”

On that note, Lugo is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season at High-A Greenville. He will not become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until next year.

Picture of Matthew Lugo: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan could be ready to break out in 2022

Is Red Sox prospect Blaze Jordan primed to break out in 2022? The experts at MLB.com seem to think so.

Earlier this week, MLB Pipeline published an article in which three writers — William Boor, Jim Callis, and Sam Dykstra — picked one potential breakout candidate from each team’s farm system.

For the Red Sox, that turned out to be Jordan, the club’s third-round selection in the 2020 amateur draft who just completed his first full season as a pro in 2021.

After breaking minor-league spring training with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox, Jordan got his 2021 campaign off to a blazing start.

The right-handed hitting corner infielder slashed a blistering .362/.408/.667 (170 wRC+) to go along with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 19 RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 13 strikeouts over 19 games (76 plate appearances) in the FCL before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem in early August.

It took quite a while for Jordan to debut for Salem, but the then-18-year-old made his first appearance for the Red Sox on Aug. 19. One of the youngest position players at the Low-A level, he proceeded to slash .250/.289/.444 (95 wRC+) one double, two homers, seven RBIs, seven runs scored, two walks, and eight strikeouts across nine games spanning 38 plate appearances. A trip to the injured list prematurely ended his season in early September.

Defensively, Jordan logged 41 innings at first base and 146 2/3 innings at third base between the complex league and Low-A last year. The native Mississippian committed a total of two errors at the hot corner but did not make any miscues at first base.

Jordan, who turned 19 last month, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among position players in the organization.

In November, Baseball America identified Jordan as the best power hitter in the Sox’ system, citing that the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder’s “plus-plus [70-grade] power is a show-stopper. He hits towering home runs to all fields and gets to his power even with a disconnect in his upper and lower halves that should get smoothed out over time. Though he lacks any real semblance of an approach, he sees the ball well, allowing him to remain more controlled in the batter’s box than might be expected.”  

Since he reclassified in high school to graduate a year early and enter the draft sooner than expected, Jordan is still relatively young for a prospect who is entering his third year of pro ball. Along those same lines, the one-time Mississippi State commit is projected by SoxProspects.com to open the 2022 season where he left off in September: Salem.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Nathan Hickey quickly emerging as one of top catching prospects in Boston’s farm system

The Red Sox have an extensive history when it comes to drafting amateur prospects out of the University of Florida.

Dating back to the 2012 draft, the Sox have selected 12 players from Florida. Of that group of Gators, four (Austin Maddox, Brian Johnson, Bobby Poyner, and Shaun Anderson) went on to make it to the major-leagues.

Most recently, Boston selected Florida outfielder Jud Fabian and Florida catcher Nathan Hickey with its second- and fifth-round picks in last summer’s draft, respectively.

While Fabian ultimately made the decision to return to Gainesville for his senior season, Hickey wound up signing with the Red Sox for an over-slot deal of $1 million last July.

Upon inking his first professional contract, Hickey — a native of Jacksonville — reported to Fort Myers to begin his debut season with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox.

Across eight games in the FCL, the left-handed hitting backstop slashed .250/.429/.350 (124 wRC+) to go along with two doubles, one RBI, four runs scored, six walks, and eight strikeouts over 28 plate appearances before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem on August 27.

Hickey appeared in two games on Aug. 27 and 28, but was placed on the temporary inactive list on September 5. After a near-two-week hiatus, the 22-year-old returned to the field and made his final appearance of the season for Salem on Sept. 17. All told, he went 1-for-8 at the plate in his first exposure to the Low-A level.

Shortly after the conclusion of the minor-league season, it was revealed that Hickey’s father, Mark, passed away in early October.

On the heels of what was presumably an emotional 2021, Hickey comes into 2022 regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system — which ranks tops among catchers in the organization.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Hickey’s best carrying tool is his raw power. He also utilizes “a mature approach at the plate” that could help him “develop into a solid hitter, though his swing can get long and too uphill at times.”

That being said, Hickey also comes with some questions in regards to his defensive abilities behind the plate. The 6-foot, 210 pounder’s “receiving and blocking will have to improve significantly, and his solid arm strength plays down and resulted in 39 steals in 41 attempts against him during the spring.”

On that note, Hickey does have experience at other positions besides catcher. He saw time at both corner infield positions with the Gators in the spring before catching a total of five games between the FCL and Low-A over the summer.

Whether Hickey — who does not turn 23 until November — is able to stick at catcher has yet to be determined. He does however have an appealing offensive profile, and that should only help him in the long run.

Going off of SoxProspects.com’s roster projections, Hickey is slated to begin the 2022 campaign where he left off in 2021: with Salem. He will likely have a chance to earn a midseason promotion to High-A Greenville depending on the kind of start he gets off to.

(Picture of Nathan Hickey: Bryan Green/Flickr)

 

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut quietly put together powerful 2021 season with Low-A Salem

When thinking of the more highly-touted infield prospects in the Red Sox farm system, Nick Northcut may not be the first name you come up with since he is not ranked by any major publications.

That being said, Northcut was actually one of the better hitting minor-leaguers in the organization last year, and he may have put together a productive 2021 season while flying under the radar a bit.

Coming out of minor-league spring training, Northcut began the year with Low-A Salem and remained there throughout what was his just his second full professional season.

Across 96 games for the Salem Red Sox, the 22-year-old slashed a sturdy .261/.352/.513 to go along with 32 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, 68 runs scored, 46 walks, and 91 strikeouts over 402 plate appearances en route to being named a Low-A East Postseason All-Star.

Among qualified hitters in the Low-A East, Northcut ranked first in doubles, third in home runs, second in RBIs, ninth in runs scored, 16th in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (.865), first in isolated power (.252), and sixth in wRC+ (129), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the right-handed hitting corner infielder appeared in a total of 38 games at first base and 47 games at third base with Salem. He committed three errors in 329 innings at first base and 11 errors in 383 innings at the hot corner.

Well before the 2021 season began, the Red Sox selected Northcut in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School. At that time, the Ohio native was a well-regarded two-way prep prospect (ranked 69th overall by Baseball America) and was committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University.

With the help of then-area scout John Pyle, however, Boston was able to land Northcut by signing him to an over-slot deal of $565,000 in June 2018. He made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League (now the Florida Complex League) shortly thereafter.

After spending the entirety of the 2019 campaign in Lowell, Northcut suffered the same fate as many minor-leaguers when the 2020 season was wiped out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not receive an invite to the Sox’ alternate training site that summer, but seemingly took advantage of his time at fall instructs later in the year in Fort Myers.

On the heels of such an impressive year at the plate in 2021, the 6-foot-1, 206 pounder is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the upcoming season at High-A Greenville, though he will likely face plenty of competition for playing time there.

Northcut, who turns 23 in June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter. In other words, he could be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by November depending on the type of year he has and/or how the team feels about him.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Who is Juan Daniel Encarnacion? Red Sox pitching prospect posted 2.96 ERA in Florida Complex League in 2021, is projected to begin 2022 season at Low-A Salem

While Wilkelman Gonzalez may have stood out above the rest in the Florida Complex League last summer, the year fellow Red Sox pitching prospect Juan Daniel Encarnacion put together in 2021 should not be forgotten about, either.

Encarnacion, who turns 21 in March, made 12 appearances — 10 of which were starts — for the FCL Red Sox after being assigned to the rookie-level affiliate out of minor-league spring training.

In those dozen outings centered around the Fort Myers-area, the young right-hander posted a 2.96 ERA and 4.03 xFIP to go along with 56 strikeouts to 11 walks over 45 2/3 total innings of work.

Among the 15 pitchers who accrued at least 40 innings in the Florida Complex League last year, Encarnacion ranked fourth in innings pitched, first in strikeouts, first in strikeouts per nine innings (11.04), fourth in walks per nine innings (2.17), first in strikeout rate (30.3%), fourth in walk rate (5.9%), fourth in batting average against (.199), first in WHIP (0.99), second in ERA, and first in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds in the team’s media guide, Encarnacion originally signed with the Red Sox for just $40,000 out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic in September 2018.

He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year and wound up leading the team in both starts (14) and strikeouts (49) before heading off to fall instructs.

After the 2020 minor-league season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Encarnacion returned to fall instructs and showed some flashes of potential there while making preparations for the 2021 campaign.

Between the time fall instructs ended and the ’21 FCL season began, the 20-year-old hurler’s velocity “increased from 88-91 mph to 90-93 mph,” SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall wrote in September.

Cundall noted that Encarnacion’s breaking ball “flashed average in a recent start and he also showed a changeup” while adding that “his best attribute right now is his control, as he throws a lot of strikes and shows some feel for command.” 

Despite his aforementioned height and weight listed in the Red Sox’ media guide, Cundall writes that Encarnacion “has some projection remaining in his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame.”

On that note, SoxProspects.com projects that Encarnacion will begin the 2022 season alongside Gonzalez at Low-A Salem. Unlike Gonzalez, though, Encarnacion will not become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until the end of 2023.

(Picture of Juan Daniel Encarnacion: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Reviewing the year Red Sox pitching prospect Wilkelman Gonzalez had between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Salem

Of the 39 pitchers who took the mound for the Red Sox’ Florida Complex League affiliate this year, none (outside of Chris Sale) might have stuck out more than right-hander Wilkelman Gonzalez.

The 19-year-old began the 2021 minor-league season in Fort Myers and was outstanding throughout the summer. In eight appearances (seven starts), he posted a 3.60 ERA and 2.83 FIP to go along with 46 strikeouts to eight walks over 35 innings of work.

On August 27, Gonzalez earned himself a promotion to Low-A Salem, where he closed out his year by putting up a miniscule 1.53 ERA and 3.98 FIP in addition to 20 strikeouts and eight walks across four starts spanning 17 2/3 innings pitched.

Among those in the FCL who accrued at least 35 innings in 2021, Gonzalez ranked eighth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.83), sixth in strikeout rate (32.6%), ninth in walk rate (5.7%), eighth in WHIP (1.06), and third in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Originally signed out of Venezuela for $250,000 in July 2018, Gonzalez began his professional career in the Dominican Summer League the following year. After the 2020 minor-league season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6-foot, 180 pound hurler made a strong impression in fall instructs and carried that momentum over into 2021.

Coming into the year, Gonzalez was not regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system. By early August (and a few weeks before getting promoted to Low-A), the athletic righty had moved up to No. 15 in BA’s midseason prospect rankings for the Red Sox organization.

Back in September, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall offered some insight into the season Gonzalez had down at the Fenway South complex.

“Gonzalez has been 93-95 mph with his fastball, while his changeup at 86-88 mph has been his best secondary pitch,” wrote Cundall. “He has shown the ability to turn it over, and the pitch now projects as above-average at least, when last fall it was his third pitch. He also has refined his breaking ball, switching from a slow, loopy curveball to a slider in the high-70s with average-to-better potential.”  

While there is plenty to be encouraged about there, Cundall notes that scouts are somewhat concerned about Gonzalez’s unimposing frame and a delivery that requires some effort.

With that, Cundall writes, “there is some reliever risk, but regardless, he is a very exciting arm and one whose stock is well up this year.”  

Gonzalez, who turns 20 in March, is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season where he ended the 2021 campaign: in Salem, and as a member of starting rotation there.

The 2022 season has the makings to be an important one for Gonzalez, as he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter.

(Picture of Wilkelman Gonzalez: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Nick Yorke recognized by MLB Pipeline as Red Sox’ breakout prospect in 2021

To nobody’s surprise, Nick Yorke was recently recognized by MLB Pipeline as the Red Sox’ breakout prospect in 2021.

Boston’s top pick — and 17th overall selection — in last year’s amateur draft, Yorke made a strong impression at major-league camp this spring before beginning the minor-league season with Low-A Salem.

After initially getting off to a slow start, Yorke wound up slashing an impressive .323/.413/.500 to go along with 14 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBIs, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 76 games (346 plate appearances) with the Salem Sox.

Around the same time he was named the Low-A East Player of the Month for August, Yorke earned a promotion to High-A Greenville on Aug. 24. The right-handed hitting infielder capped off his professional debut by batting .333/.406/.751 with six doubles, one triple, four home runs, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive.

Among all qualified hitters who played at either Low-A or High-A this year, Yorke ranked fourth in batting average (.325), ninth in on-base percentage (.412), 25th in slugging percentage (.516), 13th in OPS (.928), and 12th in wRC+ (149), per FanGraphs.

As a result of such a strong campaign at the plate between Salem and Greenville, the 19-year-old was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year in September and was recognized at Fenway Park for earning the honor.

Defensively, Yorke was used strictly as a second baseman this season and committed a total of nine errors in 741 2/3 innings at the position. Despite there being some concerns that Yorke may not be able to stick at second base in the long-term, the Red Sox remain committed to keeping him there as he continues to develop.

“He showed how much improvement he can make in one offseason, just with his body, his athleticism, his improvements on defense,” Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said of Yorke when speaking with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings earlier this month. “To me, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t continue to improve and be an impact player there.”

Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system heading into 2022. The 6-foot, 200 pound California native is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin next season where he ended this season: Greenville.

That being said, it’s certainly possible Yorke could find himself at Double-A Portland sooner rather than later next year if he gets off to a hot start come April.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Blaze Jordan named best power hitter in Boston’s farm system by Baseball America

For the second year running, Blaze Jordan was named the best power-hitting prospect in the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2022 season by Baseball America on Wednesday.

Jordan, who turns 19 next month, was also identified by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system, rising 11 spots from where he was at this time one year ago.

The Red Sox originally selected Jordan in the third round of the 2020 amateur draft out of DeSoto Central High School (Southaven, Miss.), ultimately swaying him away from his commitment to Mississippi State University by signing him to an overslot deal of $1.75 million.

With the 2020 minor-league season having been cancelled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan did not make his highly-anticipated professional debut until this past June in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

In 19 complex league games, the right-handed hitting corner infielder slashed .362/.408/.667 (170 wRC+) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 19 RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen bases, six walks, and 13 strikeouts over 76 plate appearances before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem in early August.

Among hitters who accrued at least 70 plate appearances in the Florida Complex League this season, Jordan ranked third in slugging percentage, fifth in isolated power (.304), and seventh in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

It took more than two weeks for Jordan to debut for Salem, but the 18-year-old picked up where he left off by batting .250/.289/.444 (95 wRC+) to go along with one double, two homers, seven RBIs, seven runs scored, two walks, and eight strikeouts across nine games (38 plate appearances) to close out the year.

Considering that he reclassified while in high school to graduate a year early, Jordan is still a relatively young prospect. The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder was signed by Red Sox area scout Danny Watkins out of high school and was among the youngest hitters to play at the Low-A level this season.

On Wednesday, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, who also serves as a Red Sox correspondent for Baseball America, wrote that Jordan’s “plus-plus power is a show-stopper. He hits towering home runs to all fields and gets to his power even with a disconnect in his upper and lower halves that should get smoothed out over time.

“Though he lacks any real semblance of an approach, he sees the ball well, allowing him to remain more controlled in the batter’s box than might be expected,” added Speier. “Jordan projects to be no more than a fringe-average hitter, but his pitch recognition gives him the foundation to get to his power enough to be an everyday player.”

On the other side of the ball, Jordan saw the majority of his playing time at both the complex and Low-A come at third base, though he also appeared in five total games as a first baseman as well.

The Sox, per Speier, “believe he can continue developing at third, which he does have the plus arm strength for.”

As for where Jordan will begin the 2022 season, it is believed that Boston will take a deliberate approach with the young infielder and have him progress through the system at a steady pace beginning in Salem next spring.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Bryan Green/Flickr)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter.

Walter, 25, was originally selected by Boston in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Delaware.

A native of Delaware himself, the left-hander is a few weeks removed from a breakout 2021 season in which he enjoyed much success with Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville.

All told, Walter posted a 2.92 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 132:20 over 25 appearances (14 starts) spanning 81 1/3 innings pitched between the two levels this season.

Among the topics Brandon and I discussed are what he attributes to his stellar 2021 campaign, what he did during the COVID-19 layoff last year, how he has changed as a pitcher since undergoing Tommy John surgery in college, what his draft experience was like coming out of the University of Delaware in 2019, how he has exceeded expectations as a 26th-round selection, what his plans for the offseason look like, where he would like to begin the 2022 season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thank you to Brandon for taking some time out of his Monday to have a conversation with yours truly. You can follow Brandon on Twitter (@b_walt_) by clicking here and on Instagram (@b_walt_) by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Brandon Walter courtesy of the Greenville Drive)

Red Sox pitching prospect Casey Cobb named to MiLB.com’s organizational All-Star team

Red Sox pitching prospect Casey Cobb was one of several prospects and minor-leaguer’s named to the organization’s All-Star team by MiLB.com on Monday.

Per MiLB.com, the official website of Minor League Baseball, the site “goes position by position across each system and honors the players — regardless of age or prospect status — who had the best seasons in their organization.”

Cobb was selected as the organization’s top reliever this year alongside top right-handed starter Raynel Espinal and top left-handed starter Shane Drohan.

The 25-year-old right-hander originally signed with the Red Sox as a senior out of the University of Alabama with some help from area scout Danny Watkins last June after getting passed over in the pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB Draft.

As noted by SoxProspects.com, Cobb had intended to use his extra year of eligibility to return to Alabama for the 2021 college baseball season, but instead signed with the Sox for $20,000.

With no minor-league season last year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cobb had to wait until this past spring to make his professional debut, as he began the 2021 campaign at Low-A Salem.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, the Georgia native debuted for Salem on May 4 and established himself as key contributor out of the Red Sox’ bullpen.

In 24 appearances (one start) with Salem, Cobb posted a solid 2.18 ERA and 3.38 FIP to go along with 58 strikeouts to 13 walks over 53 2/3 innings of work before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville in late August.

With the Drive for the last stretch of the minor-league season, Cobb put up a miniscule 1.35 ERA and 3.27 FIP while recording 24 strikeouts and just three walks in 20 innings pitched between Aug. 22 and September 17.

Among the 73 pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in the Low-A East this year, Cobb ranked 30th in strikeouts per nine innings (9.73), ninth in walks per nine innings (2.18), 16th in strikeout rate (28.2%), 14th in walk rate (6.3%), seventh in batting average against (.199), sixth in WHIP (0.95), fourth in ERA, and eighth in xFIP (3.59), per FanGraphs.

Among the 233 pitchers who accrued at least 20 innings in the High-A East this past season, Cobb ranked second in walks per nine innings (1.35), fifth in walk rate (3.9%), 10th in WHIP (0.85), and fifth in ERA, per FanGraphs.

According to his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Cobb — who does not turn 26 until next June — throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, an 81-83 mph slider, and an 80-83 mph changeup that “is primarily used against left-handed hitters.”

There was a point in time not too long ago where Cobb was planning on enlisting in the United States Navy once his collegiate career at Alabama came to a close. It now appears as if going pro with the Red Sox was not too bad of an alternative.

(Picture of Casey Cobb: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)